Let's get a community conversation started

March 10, 2019

How do we get a community conversation started on these important issues? Try this formula in your community, starting with someone stepping up as a leader. As the leader, establish your concerned citizens task force. Get five friends or colleagues or acquaintances to read and think objectively about the issues raised in "Bottom Half Teens." Then go through this five-step process: 1. Read and discuss the book in five one-hour sessions as they apply to your community; 2. Agree before the book is read that each friend will agree that if your group comes to a consensus, all five will then gather five of their trusted friends to read and discuss the issues raised in the book; 3. Have each of these discussion groups report back to you with their five highest priority issues; 4. Identify one or more people willing to participate in an advisory task force on a specific issue important to that group; 5. Repeat this process four times, and then announce to the community that 625 people have read and thoughtfully discussed the book and have selected five issues to focus on. Announce that you invite anyone in the community to read and discuss the book with five friends. Be clear that you are seeking input and recommendations from diverse groups: parents, teens, ethnic communities, people who are struggling to pay their bills, welfare recipients. Ask the public groups to submit to you in writing their top five issues. Set a deadline of 45 days. If doable, you may want to make free copies of the book available at the public library that they can write in and keep.

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